Category: Technology

David Hockney and the art of the iPad

January 22, 2011 |  7:00 am

Hockney Bridlington, England--David Hockney is pretty isolated here in Yorkshire, some four hours by train from London, but that’s the way he likes it. Ensconced near the quiet rural landscape he’s immortalized in paintings and watercolors, he has more time not only to draw but to experiment with new ways of making art. “We think we’re way ahead here,” he confides. “We need this little remote place to be observant about the medium.”

The art-making medium he’s using most these days is the iPad, brother to the iPhone, which he took up earlier. Whether he’s lying in bed or driving through snow-covered woods, his ever-ready iPhone and iPad are always by his side. They keep him in touch with not only his craft but a small group of friends and colleagues who regularly receive his colorful missives of landscapes, flowers, cap or ashtray.

He is 73, his trademark blond hair now gray, but few people are as curious and willing to try new things as David Hockney.  At his enormous studio on what he calls “the Pico Boulevard of Bridlington,” Hockney is still painting the colorful canvases that made him famous. But as he simultaneously draws on luminous electronic surfaces and experiments with multi-screen video projections, he is assembling people and resources to take him and his art into the future.

You can read more about David Hockney, his iPad drawings and his life in Yorkshire in Arts & Books; click here.

--Barbara Isenberg

Image above: "UNTITLED, 2 JANUARY 2011, 1". iPad drawing. Credit: David Hockney


Destroyed Apple products become photographic works of art

November 15, 2010 |  9:00 am


Iphone When does an iPhone or an iPad cease to be a mere consumer gadget and enter the rarefied world of visual art? How about when someone willfully destroys it, turning it into an abstract, brutalized husk of its former self?

A series of smashed, mangled, shot up and melted Apple products are the subject of a recent photography project by a San Francisco-area graphic designer who said he's trying to make people think about their relationship with these universally beloved gadgets.

Michael Tompert said he had spent the last several months purchasing the newest in Apple consumer technology and then creatively destroying the pricey toys. The results, which he photographed, briefly went on display at a gallery exhibition that ran over the weekend at the small Live Worms Gallery in San Francisco. (The art show was first reported on the site Cult of Mac.)

Speaking on the phone, Tompert said the idea for the project came to him after he gave each of his two sons an iPod touch for Christmas. He said the two boys fought over one of the devices, which had a certain game on it. Fed up with the quarrel, Tompert said he grabbed one of the iPods and smashed it on the ground.

"They were kind of stunned -- the screen was broken and this liquid poured out of it. I got my camera to shoot it," Tompert said. "My wife told me that I should do something with it."

In all, Tompert created 12 images of destroyed Apple products, working with his friend Paul Fairchild, a photographer. "They had to be a brand-new product," Tompert said. "It's not about destroying old products. It's about our relationship with the new."

His methods of destruction varied by gadget. To destroy an iPhone 3G device (seen above), he used a Heckler & Koch handgun to blow a hole through it. To obliterate a set of iPod Nanos, he placed the devices on a train track so that a locomotive would run over them. (See an image of them after the jump.)

The most difficult product to obliterate was the iPad -- "it's practically indestructible," Tompert said.

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Why Rainn Wilson Hates LACMA (and other 'Cell Phone Stories')

August 4, 2010 |  1:09 pm

Rainn Wilson wants to tell you all the reasons why he hates the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. And the museum is happy to help him do it.

RainnWilson, who plays Dwight on NBC's "The Office," gave Culture Monster a preview of what he's thinking: "LACMA's a very valuable piece of property that really should be developed. I'm thinking condos immediately. I know it's by the Grove but I think another mall might be a good idea as well. My mission is to destroy the remaining art institutions in L.A. and look at the value of the real estate beneath them."

The actor will share such ideas in a "hostile" takeover of LACMA's Twitter feed on Friday and Saturday as part of "Cell Phone Stories," a summer-long project in which guest artists are using mobile-phone technology and social media to create "episodes" designed to re-imagine the museum experience.

In seriousness, Wilson says, he's a LACMA member and has been going to the museum for years. He and his father collect art. He loves LACMA's collections and  said he is a fan of "the Broad wing, which I think is one of the greatest buildings in Los Angeles."

Wilson also is a Twitter master -- he estimates he has about 2 million followers -- so it's easy to see why he was recruited for this episode (which is succinctly named "I Hate LACMA"). "They want to show that you can poke fun at the museum and that a museum can have a sense of humor," Wilson says. He's eager to oblige. "I'm gonna take 'em down."

"Cell Phone Stories," which was launched in May and ends Sept. 6, was conceived by artist Steve Fagin at the request of LACMA director Michael Govan. Subscribers receive weekly texts alerting them to offerings on the museum's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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Hollywood Bowl gets its own smartphone app

June 24, 2010 | 11:35 am

Bowl2010 Just in time for summer -- not to mention the launch of Apple's iPhone 4 -- the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn. is introducing a phone application designed to help you make the most of visits to the Hollywood Bowl.

The free app offers a detailed look at the season's shows and performers and allows users to buy tickets and add concerts to a favorites list in order to receive reminders and special announcements.

The "Hollywood Bowl" application also explains how to get to the venue by car or shuttle and what to do once there. On phones with GPS the app will offer driving directions and pinpoint seat locations as well as the nearest restrooms, concessions and picnic areas. App users also can view Bowl-related videos and a fan photo gallery to which they can submit their own pictures.

An L.A. Philharmonic spokeswoman says the application, which was developed by Santa Monica-based MeemleLabs, is available for all Android phones and iPhones and is compatible with iOS 4 -- Apple's new mobile operating system. It will be available for BlackBerrys and the mobile web starting in July.

The Phil says it's always trying to improve mobile service for all users on its 110-acre grounds. For this season, it has been working with AT&T, the spokeswoman says, "so you can enjoy using the 'Hollywood Bowl' app at the Bowl and beyond."

Last fall, the Philharmonic Assn. celebrated the arrival of music director Gustavo Dudamel by launching its first iPhone app and online game, "Bravo Gustavo,"  in which users can "conduct" the Phil in excerpts from Berlioz and Mahler.

-- Karen Wada

Photo: The Hollywood Bowl opened its 2010 summer season with fireworks on June 18. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times


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LACMA to text, Tweet and tell (some very different) tales about itself in 'Cell Phone Stories' project

May 28, 2010 | 10:45 am

Wilson-lacma Attention smartphone owners.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is launching "Cell Phone Stories," a three-month series beginning Saturday that will use mobile phone technology, e-mail, Facebook and Twitter to share essays and tales inspired by the museum and told by artists, actors and designers including Rainn Wilson of NBC's "The Office" and Rodarte founders Kate and Laura Mulleavy.

People who sign up for the series, which will end Sept. 6, will receive weekly texts alerting them to new offerings on LACMA's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Artist Steve Fagin, who conceived the project, says LACMA director Michael Govan had asked him to "try to redefine how art is presented, to engage people in different ways and get them to see us and all museums a little differently."

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Getty Museum offers a look inside a 17th-century treasure (virtually, that is)

May 18, 2010 |  1:20 pm

Cabinet   The J. Paul Getty Museum is using new technology to provide a close-up look at an old treasure.

The Augsburg Display Cabinet (c.1630) is a German Kabinettschrank, a piece for storing and exhibiting  valuables and curiosities.

The wooden cabinet, which is about 29 inches tall, is the star attraction of one of four newly reinstalled galleries in the museum's North Pavilion. It rests on a Renaissance marble table with each of its four sides open to reveal an array of drawers, doors and cupboards.

Visitors aren't allowed to touch the cabinet -- which means they don't get the chance to fully appreciate its craftsmanship and complexity.

That's where the Getty's technology comes in.

"We are always looking for ways in which we can enhance the viewer's experience," says Erin Coburn, head of the museum's Collection Information & Access department. During a discussion about the pavilion's reopening, she says, "A curator suggested we do something to help people understand the Augsberg cabinet in a way other than just staring at it."

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Monster Mash: Discord erupts over L.A.'s 'Ring'; Tony nomination withdrawn; 'Carmen' goes 3-D

May 14, 2010 |  8:03 am

Opera-red --Dark notes: The two leading singers in the Los Angeles Opera's "Ring" cycle are openly criticizing director Achim Freyer, saying the production is artistically flawed and dangerous for performers. (Los Angeles Times)

--Deja vu: Santo Loquasto's Tony nomination for costume design has been withdrawn by Tony officials, who say his creations for the recent revival of "Ragtime" are too similar to the ones he did for the original 1998 production. (Playbill

--Entering the fray: Aaron Sorkin joins in the debate over the Newsweek essay that said gay actors shouldn't play straight characters. (Huffington Post)

--'Aida,' meet 'Avatar': The Royal Opera House in London says it will start to film productions in 3-D for distribution to mass-market audiences, starting with Bizet's "Carmen." (Telegraph

--Color-coordinated: Will "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" open in the fall? Patrick Page, who played Dr. Seuss' grumpy green Grinch on Broadway, reportedly has been offered the role of the Green Goblin in the musical that will feature songs by U2's Bono and The Edge. (New York Post)

--Grunge hero: A new exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum looks at Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's life and death and his influence on contemporary art and music. (Art Daily)

--Bitter battle: The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra has sued the country's culture minister, accusing him of financial mismanagement when he ran the orchestra, and may continue a boycott that could ruin Prague's spring music festival. (Prague Post via ArtsJournal)

Also in the Los Angeles Times: Chinese art star Zhang Huan, known for his intense performance works, has brought a huge sculpture to San Francisco; theater critic Charles McNulty reviews the Reprise Theatre Company's "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying"; music critic Mark Swed reviews the music/mixed-media collaboration "Under Glass" at the Silent Movie Theatre.

-- Karen Wada

Photo: Linda Watson as Brunnhilde and John Treleaven as Siegfried in the Los Angeles Opera's "Götterdämmerung" in March. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Music review: 'Under Glass' brings together just about everything

May 13, 2010 |  2:06 pm

“Under Glass” was, Wednesday night at the Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax, a one-time collaboration (or “music/media mash-up,” if you like) between composer and “laptop funabulist” Carl Stone, improvisational video and installation artist Carole Kim and singer, composer, actor, director, poet, playwright Paul Outlaw. Where to begin? With the sound of static, of course, tuning into the vast beyond. And a sideways mushroom cloud.

Or at least that was how I chose to interpret Stone’s warming up and the moving Rorschach test-like image on the video screen. But anything I say about “Under Glass,” you can say differently. I mean that as a form of praise.

Officially this was the fourth in a series called “Blast Phemy,” a joint venture between the Pasadena-based NewTown artists' collective, the Cinefamily (which has turned the Silent Movie Theatre into a venue of cinematic exploration) and the long-standing L.A. Filmforum. The idea is for three experimental organizations to create a modest, funky art particle accelerator. Arts and artists collide with the hope that new art particles will emerge that can tell us a little something or other about creation. 

Not knowing what to expect is the main thing. Portraits of silent film stars line the walls of this theater, and although “Under Glass” displayed a curiously sweet existential gravity, I kept noticing Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd. The lesson from these slapstick greats was that we are our mishaps. Each pratfall can prove a meaningful change of direction if you let it.

The silent stars also remind us that film’s origin – and maybe it lost essence – is in performance, not only in the improvisational aspect of early cinema but also in the application of live, and most often improvised, music to the silents. The experience of movie-going was once not to be en-goggled in 3-D spectacles and predigested surround sound, but to be surrounded by surprise.

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Today's Google Doodle? It's a 170th birthday present for Tchaikovsky

May 7, 2010 |  2:28 pm

Swanlake If you've been Googling today, you may have noticed that the Google Doodle -- the decorative riff on the search engine's home-page logo -- depicts a bevy of ballet dancers.

The moonlit scene -- a photo illustration representing members of the San Francisco Ballet in Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake"-- is Google's way of celebrating the 170th birthday of the Russian composer.

For the last 12 years, the company has noted special events, moments in history and the lives of inventors, artists and other famous people by creating such daily doodles. (An archive is viewable at

A team of doodlers comes up with most of the customized logos, although guest artists such as Eric Carle have contributed. Suggestions for subjects come from employees and Google users. (You can suggest an idea at [email protected].) One of the few rules is that each design must incorporate the company name.

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Monster Mash: Gustavo Dudamel hurt at concert; Eli Broad sees merits to downtown museum site; Italy's opera houses go silent

May 7, 2010 |  8:03 am

Gustavo-thursday --Sidelined: Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel pulled a neck muscle while conducting the first half of a concert on Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall. After intermission, associate conductor Lionel Bringuier took the podium to complete the program. (Los Angeles Times)

--Grand plan: Although he says he hasn't decided between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles, Eli Broad says that if his new art museum were on Grand Avenue, it would draw a bigger audience and help fulfill his vision of downtown as an economic and cultural magnet. (Los Angeles Times)

-- Offstage drama: Opera houses across Italy have been silenced by artists' protests and wildcat strikes after the government passed emergency austerity measures aimed at the 14 state-supported theaters. (Associated Press)

--Happy feet: "Come Fly Away," "Fela!" and "Memphis" are among the shows earning multiple nominations for this year's Fred and Adele Astaire Awards, which honor achievement in dance on Broadway and in film. (

--Bright prospects: Even in this rocky economy, the Brooklyn Academy of Music has reason to feel optimistic. The performing arts and cinema center is about to break ground on a $45-million theater and education facility -- a project that is almost entirely paid for. (Wall Street Journal)

--Connected: Finland's Savonlinna Opera Festival has invited the public to help it create an opera--including libretto, score, sets and costumes -- based on online submissions. (Reuters)

Also in the Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles County will spend $350,000 to consider ways to upgrade the John Anson Ford Theatres in Hollywood; music critic Mark Swed reviews "Party for Betty!" at REDCAT.

-- Karen Wada 

Photo: Gustavo Dudamel injured a neck muscle while conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Thursday at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times



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